In the past two years, singer Smith has been compared countless times to Amy Winehouse, featured twice on Drake’s “More Life” album, and performed at London’s Wireless Festival. All by the age of 20. Smith grew up in the small English town of Walsall, and her current manager was sent a video of Smith singing when she was around 15 years old, which led her to move to London at 18 and pursue music. She released her first single, “Blue Lights,” in 2016 on SoundCloud, followed by her 4-track EP titled “Project 11,” which launched her career. Smith’s R&B flair and soulful stylings mirror the power of Winehouse, with Lauryn Hill another obvious comparison point. So far, Smith has released all her music as an independent artist. In January, she debuted her single “Let Me Down” featuring prominent British rapper Stormzy. Her work with the U.K. native isn’t surprising given her tracks with Drake, specifically her breakout moment on “Get It Together.” Last December, Smith was announced as the 2018 recipient of the Brits Critics’ Choice. The award was previously given to Adele, Sam Smith, Emeli Sandé and Rag’n’Bone Man among others. A sign of a big year ahead of her, Smith will perform at the award show with Rag’n’Bone Man, marking the first time a Brits Critics’ Choice winner will sing on the main show the same year she won the award.
— Ariana Brockington